Mature-aged Sport and Physical Activity

Mature-aged Sport and Physical Activity
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards and Christine May, Senior Research Consultants, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission)
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Dr Peter Reaburn, Professor and Head, Sport and Exercise Science, Bond University (March 2017)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 10 May 2019
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Long-term sport and physical activity behaviours have been linked to enhanced and lifelong physical, mental, and social wellbeing outcomes.

15% of Australians (3.7 million) were aged 65 and over in 2016. This cohort is projected to grow to 22% of our total population (approximately 8.7 million) by 2056.  

An ageing population presents many significant challenges to governments—particularly across the social policy related areas of health services, active participation of older persons in society, community planning and infrastructure, and overall quality of life.

Key Messages 


2016/17 AusPlay data shows that only 44% of older Australians (65+) participated in physical activity five times per week—of which 40% of those respondents said they were active through sport-related activities.


Australian physical activity guidelines for older adults (65+) recommend accumulating at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity daily.


More recent research has shown that older persons who maintain a higher level of physical capacity may actually slow their ageing process, as well as contributing to improved personal health outcomes.

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